Work ‘most stressful part of many people’s lives’

Work is the most stressful factor in people’s lives with one in three people saying their work life is either very or quite stressful, more so than debt or financial problems or health, according to research commissioned by mental health charity Mind.

The survey of over 2,000 people found the top cause for workplace stress was frustration with poor management, with one in three (32 per cent) saying this was either very stressful or quite stressful. Excessive workload was the second most stressful factor for one in four (26 per cent) of those surveyed, followed by not enough support from managers (25 per cent) and unrealistic targets (25 per cent).

Mind says a culture of fear and silence about mental health problems is still prevalent and costly to employers with other key findings revealing:

– One in five people (19 per cent) take a day off sick because of stress, but 90 per cent of those people cited a different reason for their absence.

– One in ten (9 per cent) have resigned from a job due to stress and one in four (25 per cent) have considered resigning due to work pressure.

– One in five (19 per cent) felt they couldn’t tell their boss if they were overly stressed.

– Of the 22 per cent of those surveyed who have a diagnosed mental health problem, less than half (10 per cent) had actually told their boss about their diagnosis.

The survey reveals that line managers would like to do more to improve staff mental wellbeing, but more than half (56 per cent) said they needed more training and/ or guidance and nearly half (46 per cent) said it is not a priority in their organisation. However, employees don’t believe that managers are actively tackling causes of stress in the workplace, with only one in five people saying they felt their line manager took active steps to help staff manage stress (22%) or mental health conditions (19%).

Chief Executive of Mind Paul Farmer said: “Work-related mental health problems are an issue too important for businesses to ignore. Our research shows that employees are still experiencing high levels of stress at work, which is negatively impacting their physical and mental health. We know that right now, one in six workers is experiencing depression, stress or anxiety and yet our survey tells us that most managers don’t feel they have had enough training or guidance to support them.

“Improving mental wellbeing in the workplace doesn’t have to cost a lot. Our research shows that people whose organisations offered flexible working hours and generous annual leave said such measures supported their mental wellbeing. Three in five people said that if their employer took action to support the mental wellbeing of all staff, they would feel more loyal, motivated, committed and be likely to recommend their workplace as a good place to work.”

Mind has produced free webinars and resources for HR managers and line managers.

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